I only learned about Chris Guillebeau’s The Art of Non-Conformity book tour last week, and found out he was starting off the Canadian leg of his journey in St. John’s. What better place to start? I have really only been following Chris’s blog for a month or so now, after reading about him on Matador and in a few other places. So I reached out to him and embarrassingly confessed I hadn’t read his latest book or any of his e-books, but I wanted to get involved with his tour, and you know what? He totally didn’t care I hadn’t read his stuff.
So I rounded up a few people and went to meet him at Chapters tonight. When I invited people along, I had to convince them it wasn’t some kinda hippie convention where we’d sit around eating granola and talking about the war on terror. It was tough…throw “non-conformity” into a conversation and people bolt for the door.
There was a group of 10 people or so there, a few bloggers and a few other curious folks, and we had a great little chit-chat accompanied by cupcakes and cookies. Chris talked about his book for maybe 15 minutes, explained some of his ideals, and then left the floor open to us. We shifted uncomfortably. Finally someone asked a question about travel, and then it was like all our ideas fell out of our head in one long string of conversation. We laughed, we cried. We held hands. *
The Art of Non-Conformity is the product of Chris’s years of blogging and becoming a self-sustaining, worldwide traveler with an emphasis on the belief that we can do great things for people while also doing great things for ourselves. “Selfish generosity,” he calls it.
The thing I like about Chris is that he is completely devoid of pretention. I live my life trying to run away from pretention (I’m not entirely guilt-free), and I respect anyone who has the ability to carve their own path without becoming all high-and-mighty about it. Chris took some time to talk with me personally and to get to know me, which means the world to me. Life is freaking terrifying sometimes, and knowing there are people around to back me up is a nice comfort.
Plus I was allowed to stamp his books. Go me!
When things were wrapping up, I started talking to a few people. Some asked me for my business card, one or two other people suddenly spoke up to say they had been reading me for awhile. I was kinda stunned. The funny thing is, while I’ve been promoting my blog all around the Interwebs, I haven’t made much effort to put it out into the St. John’s community. Perhaps this year I’ll make my blog public. Another fear to get over, I suppose.
Chris is stopping in every province to meet up with other rule breakers and badasses, so check him out if he’s in your town! Bring cupcakes.
*Some truth may be stretched.